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No. 3 Worst Job in Science

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Moonpaw, May 29, 2008.

  1. Moonpaw

    Moonpaw 2+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    I was logging into Hotmail when I saw a "Top Ten Worst Jobs in Science." Of course, they were mostly really cool things that gross out normal people. I figured y'alls would appreciate # 3.

    "Elephant vasectomist"

    When your patient is Earth's largest land animal, sterilization is a big job.

    What's one foot across and sits behind two inches of skin, four inches of fat and 10 inches of muscle? That's right: an elephant's testicle. Which means veterinarian Mark Stetter's newest invention — a four-foot-long fiber-optic laparoscope attached to a video monitor — has to be a heavy-duty piece of equipment to sterilize a randy bull pachyderm.

    Stetter, the head doc at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, created the device to help control elephants in African wildlife parks, where the jumbos have been breeding too quickly and eating up more than their share of the surrounding habitat. The snipping began last summer when Stetter and his team field-tested the device on four unsuspecting bulls at the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve in South Africa. After a pachyderm was sedated with a dart from a helicopter, the team used a crane truck to pull the sleeping beast upright. Four-inch incisions were made, and the laparoscope was inserted into the abdomen near the reproductive organs (an elephant's testicles are on the inside, like ovaries). When he located the centimeter-thick vas deferens-the tube that carries semen from the testicles to the penis-Stetter inserted a long pair of scissors through the scope and cut out a two- or three-inch section.

    So far, the method seems to be working. The first four test subjects survived the ordeal with no complications (except the possibility of bruised pride). If things go the way Stetter plans, elephants throughout southern Africa will soon be crossing their legs in fear: He has begun training other field vets to perform the procedure, and hopes to have multinational trials up and running soon.
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  3. VAgirl

    VAgirl UC Davis SVM c/o 2012 2+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Davis, CA
    Thanks for sharing!

    And wow...I did not know that!
  4. WhtsThFrequency

    WhtsThFrequency Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2006
    Holy....whoa. That's one of the most awesome things I have heard all week, hah!:laugh:
  5. rachroo

    rachroo OSU CVM c/o 2013 5+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Cincinnati, OH
    I met a vet who is involved in doing this procedure. He flies out to South Africa 2 times a year to volunteer his "services." There is also elephant contraception for the females. Interesting stuff!!!
  6. PAThbrd

    PAThbrd LA Surgery Resident Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Aug 9, 2004
    Another fun elephant fact... the mammary glands are pectoral, like people :) I cant think of any other non-primate that can claim that.
  7. luckyduck517

    luckyduck517 SGU SVM 2012 2+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2007
    Grenada, WI
  8. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2006
    I used to play hockey with a woman who works in elephant reproductive endocrinology there at Disney's Animal Kingdom. She told us about this in the locker room once. :laugh:
  9. msmrtrthnyllb

    msmrtrthnyllb 2+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    Gainesville, Florida

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